The Green Energy Act, 2009, which was passed in May,
2009, was proclaimed in force this week and various related
legislative amendments and regulations have been issued. The Act is
intended to encourage the development of renewable energy by
providing a simpler method to procure and develop renewable energy
projects in Ontario.
Key components of the Act include:
Feed-in tariff program - North America's first
comprehensive feed-in tariff (FIT) program is intended to increase
investor confidence in renewable energy projects by providing
standard program rules, standard contracts and standard pricing for
classes of renewable energy. The FIT program replaces the Ontario
Power Authority's (OPA) request for proposal process and
standard offer program. Prices are differentiated by energy source
or fuel type, generation capacity and the manner by which the
generation facility is used, deployed, installed or located.
Domestic content rules require that at least 25 percent of wind
projects costs and 50 percent of large solar projects costs come
from Ontario goods and labour with proportions increasing in 2011
and 2012. The OPA will begin accepting FIT applications on October
1, 2009 and expects to sign the first FIT contracts in December,
Streamlined approvals process - New regulations
provide a 'one-stop' approvals process that combines
existing environmental and municipal planning approvals into a
single new 'renewable energy approval' (REA). Province-wide
standards for renewable energy projects include minimum setbacks
for wind projects. The Act exempts renewable energy projects from
prescribed municipal planning approvals but requires municipal and
community consultation. Also, consultation requirements for
participation by Aboriginal communities are specified. The new REA
will be coordinated with other provincial approvals, providing a
six-month service guarantee when the developer's application is
deemed complete by the Ministry of the Environment. Anyone can
appeal the issuance of a REA to Ontario's Environmental Review
Tribunal on the basis that the project will cause serious harm to
human health or the environment. The Tribunal will have six months
to determine the appeal.
Enhanced Transmission Connections - The Act authorizes
incentives and cost recovery programs to encourage the expansion
and upgrade of connections for renewable generation facilities.
Transmitters and distributors are required to connect and grant
priority access to renewable energy projects that meet prescribed
technical, economic and other regulatory requirements. Requiring
expansion beyond current capacity to accommodate renewables is a
fundamental change under the FIT program. Shared connection
facilities will also allow for cost-effective transmission
expansion and network enhancement is to be reconsidered in every
region of the province every six months. In these ways, the
development of transmission and distribution systems in Ontario is
intended to be more proponent-driven and focused on optimizing
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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